After Fukui, Joanna and I rode the bullet train and local trains and finally arrived at Ino-machi in Kochi Prefecture.
(Since most of the papermakers did not allow us to take pictures because of their machines, the pictures are a bit limited).
Our first stop was to the public paper-making work area located in Naro. This location is extremely sufficient, equipped with the facilities needed in order to make washi from the beginning.
When we arrived, Mie (mother of the Hamada brothers) was washing the cooked kozo fibers in a huge vat of natural water from the Niyodo river. The fibers are then sun bleached before being beaten.
Our next stop was to the workplace of Yamamoto Tadayoshi, suketa (papermaking tool) maker. A suketa is the frame washi is made in; subeing bamboo screen and keta being the wooden frame.
He receives many orders from all over the world, and that day he was also working on a su for an association in Japan.
Our last stop was to see Kensho Ishimoto, who makes the Sekishu White and Natural, Akatosashi, Tosa Hanga Natural, and more. That day, he was working on a new heavy-weight printmaking paper. As he was in the middle of the drying process, he let us experience it! The wet paper is peeled off delicately, one by one, and carefully placed on the heated surface. Then, a hake brush is used to smoothen the paper out.
It is much more difficult than it looks….
From left: Tsuyoshi Ageta, Kensho Ishimoto, and his lovely mother.
Thank you to everyone we met in Kochi!
In mid-July, I traveled to Kochi once again to meet with the Hamada brothers to discuss the future of washi, and what we the younger generation can do. I also met with others that are helping out with events by the Hamada brothers, who are not necessarily linked to the paper-making industry, which was quite inspiring.
There might be another major event with them in LA, so I’ll keep you updated!